Disordered gambling among racial and ethnic groups in the US: results from the national epidemiologic survey on alcohol and related conditions

CNS Spectr. 2009 Mar;14(3):132-42. doi: 10.1017/s1092852900020113.


Introduction: Prior research suggests that racial minority groups in the United States are more vulnerable to develop a gambling disorder than whites. However, no national survey on gambling disorders exists that has focused on ethnic differences.

Methods: Analyses of this study were based on the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions, a large (N=43,093) nationally representative survey of the adult (> or =18 years of age) population residing in households during 2001-2002 period. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition-Text Revision diagnoses of pathological gambling, mood, anxiety, drug use, and personality disorders were based on the Alcohol Use Disorder and Associated Disabilities Interview Schedule-DSM-IV Version.

Results: Prevalence rates of disordered gambling among blacks (2.2%) and Native/Asian Americans (2.3%) were higher than that of whites (1.2%). Demographic characteristics and psychiatric comorbidity differed among Hispanic, black, and white disordered gamblers. However, all racial and ethnic groups evidenced similarities with respect to symptom patterns, time course, and treatment seeking for pathological gambling.

Conclusion: The prevalence of disordered gambling, but not its onset or course of symptoms, varies by racial and ethnic group. These varying prevalence rates may reflect, at least in part, cultural differences in gambling and its acceptability and accessibility. These data may inform the need for targeted prevention strategies for high-risk racial and ethnic groups.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Data Collection
  • Ethnicity
  • Female
  • Gambling* / psychology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult